Dark comedy can be very difficult. The idea is to push buttons by laughing at taboo subjects. This leads to jokes about death, race, and people with disabilities among other things. It can also lead to jokes that are pointless, unfunny, and hurtful. When it is done correctly, it can be hilarious, however. Comedy is not always just about laughter. It can also be used to prove a point or to make people look at things in a different light. Homewrecker has its characters and the audience look at love and life in hilariously dark ways.
The film is the story of of two new friends. Michelle and Linda attend the same yoga class. After running into each other at a coffee shop, they end up spending the afternoon together. Linda was the popular girl in school while Michelle seems to have the answer for everything. They soon learn they have much more in common than they realized.
This is a deceptively simple movie. The vast majority of the film is just the two actresses while much of it is spent in Linda’s home. The plot seems to be setting up a final epiphany that solves every problem the two ever had. Homewrecker’s greatest strength is in its ability to constantly fool the audience.
For starters, it is hilarious. The trick is the humor comes out of nowhere without being random. Every joke has meaning. Much of the times the humor is wacky, but it always fits in with the story being told. Whether it is an extension of the character or the plot, there is never a time a the laughs seems out of place.
Despite its consistent humor, it would be wrong to describe Homewrecker as a comedy. It is a coming of age story for adults or a character study that is unafraid to let its audience laugh at itself. The extreme nature of the story is ridiculous, yet still manages to be grounded in reality. It almost seems like director Zach Gayne does not know what he wants his movie to be.
That apparent lack of direction is what makes the film so good. It is able to easily slip between moments of humor, fear, and sadness deftly. This is a story that audiences will be able to relate with. Whether it is moments of insecurity or that one oblivious friend who is funny for all the wrong reasons, Homewrecker will constantly have people watching nodding their heads knowingly.
The entirety of Homewrecker is spent walking a tightrope of emotions. When is it the wrong time to make a joke; is the story becoming too melodramatic? The film works thanks to its two leads. Alex Essoe stars as Michelle, a recently married interior designer. Essoe does a great job of showing anger and frustration. She is very patient and is the type of person that would be called “easy to talk to”. Though it is never said outright, it is clear she has problems letting people down.
Precious Chong plays perfectly off Essoe. She is magnificent in a role that escalates with the story. Linda is an over the top character, but Chong does a great job of not making her ridiculous. Chong does an makes the audience laugh while they pity her character at the same time. The acting is so good it actually overshadows the story at times.
Homewrecker is a very physical movie. The two women spend much of the runtime fighting with each other. It should get tiresome, but the duo are able to make it work each time. This is thanks in part to Gayne. The brawls are serious (including the final one which is particularly violent), but Gayne mixes in just the right amount of humor to keep each encounter fresh. The enables the movie to go through a series of fight scenes without ever seeming tedious or silly.
Few movies are able to mix in a deep message and strong comedy well. Homewrecker is a wonderful exception. It is filled with humor and deep characters. The story is also surprisingly tense. In a year of movies with strong pairings, Homewrecker stands out.